Big Creek Trail hike to Mouse Creek Falls in North Carolina

One of our last adventures in the Smoky Mountains was a hike to Mouse Creek Falls, but what was great about this one was the creek -- called Big Creek -- along the trail that goes up to Mouse Creek Falls.  Big Creek is full of giant boulders and lots of smaller waterfalls, but the best part is the many big and deep swimming holes.  These are off the main trail, and we didn't see a single other person at any of these until we got to the biggest one, the Midnight Hole.  We ended up spending most of the hike hopping up the boulders in the river, instead of on the trail, and it was tons of fun.

The one thing I didn't like about this trail was the "no pets" sign on it.  Not that we currently have a dog, but if we did, we'd definitely want to take him on hikes like this.  And there were clearly horses on this trail, as evidenced by the giant piles of horse poop that their stupid owners always fail to clean up, so it's a little ridiculous that you can't bring a dog here.

View of the Smoky Mountains on the way to Mouse Creek Falls.

Our first stop off the main trail led to this beautiful spot, one of several swimming holes that we had all to ourselves.

That's Kim on the end of a gigantic boulder.

This was one giant swimming hole in the middle of the river.

Yet another swimming hole. We were amazed at how crystal-clear the water was, as you can see in the photo.

There were small waterfalls virtually everywhere along this stretch of the river; this is one of my favorites.

This is the view looking down over the waterfalls in the previous shot.

Photographer in action. Here is the photo that she was creating in this shot.


A little video clip of the 3 beautiful waterfalls side by side at this spot in the river.

This big, beautiful, emerald pool is known as the Midnight Hole. You know that I jumped into this one and more than once.

Close-up view of a small chute of water right near Mouse Creek Falls.

And there it is: Mouse Creek Falls. Actually, after all the fun swimming holes and small but rushing waterfalls on the way up, this was kind of anti-climactic for me.

This is a shot of the trail on the way back down, just to show that the trail itself wasn't all that exciting. We spent most of the time hopping up the rocks in the river instead of here on the "real" trail.